Lockdown extended and schools to stay shut

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking in parliament on Wednesday.

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The lockdown on mainland Scotland will be extended, and schools and nurseries will remain closed until mid-February, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told parliament this week.

At Tuesday’s review, she said progress was being made but that the NHS in Scotland was not out of the woods yet.

Lockdown restrictions – including the stay-at-home requirement – will remain in place across mainland Scotland and some islands until ‘at least’ the middle of February.

Of schools and nurseries, she said: ‘Our reluctant judgement at this stage is that community transmission of the virus is too high and is likely to remain so for the next period to allow for a safe return to school on the first of February.

‘The cabinet therefore decided that except for vulnerable and key worker children, school and nursery premises will remain closed until mid-February.

Ms Sturgeon said the pressure on the NHS in Scotland continued to be ‘very severe’ but there were ‘some signs for optimism’, stating that cases have stabilised and even declined, with it being clear the lockdown restrictions had helped.

But she added: ‘Any relaxation of lockdown while case numbers, even though they might be declining, nevertheless remain very high, could quickly send the situation into reverse, especially with the faster-spreading variant now being so dominant.’

The next review will take place on February 2.